Friday, December 30, 2011

Countdown

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Oops, a fresh new year waiting just round the corner. Some of you will get there sooner than me, and others later! That thought still feels a little bit strange, even after three years of blogging!!!

Anyway, I thought I’d better post this greeting a day early (from my point of view). In my tomorrow (New Year’s Eve) I probably won’t be around much in Blogland, since I’ll have friends from my other world coming over in the evening. And they expect to be fed!

Luckily the rain stopped, and the sun even broke through today. So I was able to get out and replenish my stock of honey, more honey, lots of chocolate, cakes and cookies acorns and thistles and other wholesome food that we might need to get us from this year to the next one. (Sorry, Pooh got a little carried away there until Piglet and Eeyore corrected him…)

The photo, if anyone wonders, is not last year’s fireworks. It is my neighbour’s Christmas lights seen through the opaque glass wind screen separating our balconies, on a dark and rainy night!

** Have a Sparkling New Year **

Thursday, December 29, 2011

And it rained, and it rained, and it rained…

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… and he slept and he slept and he slept.

Two days later, there was Pooh, sitting on his branch, dangling his legs, and there, beside him, were four pots of honey....

Three days later, there was Pooh, sitting on his branch, dangling his legs, and there beside him, was one pot of honey.

Four days later, there was Pooh . . .


~Winnie-the-Pooh, Chapter 9~

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… Read More

BTT: Booking Through 2011

This week, Deb at Booking Through Thursday asks:

What were your favorite books of 2011?

I did try this year to pick up the habit again of keeping a list of the books I read. Looking at it now, I have a suspicion I probably left some out. (I got out of the habit back when an old computer crashed a couple of years ago.) Well, never mind. When I look at the list, these are the ones that at the end of the year strike me as most memorable:

A novel by Swedish author P O Enquist, English title Lewi's Journey, (but I read it in Swedish), about the life of Lewi Pethrus: founder of, or at least very influential in, the Swedish Pentecostal movement back in the early 20th century.

A novel by Anna Gavalda (French author), English title Hunting and gathering (but I listened to it as Swedish audio book) -
"four people living in an apartment house [in Paris]: a struggling young artist who works as an office cleaner at night, a young aristocrat misfit, a cook, and an elderly grandmother"

The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen, which I wrote about in an earlier BTT post (24 November). A feel-good novel with a touch of fairy tale magic to it, and leaving behind a delicious smell of newly baked cakes. (Almost, anyway!)

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. My most recent read. (How memorable it will seem in a year’s time… remains to be seen!) This book won “General Fiction Book of the Year at the 2011 Australian Book Industry Awards”.

I mentioned it in my BTT post last week, when I still had 1/4 left to read, saying: “I’m still feeling that on the one hand I want to just keep reading to find out about the mysteries involved; on the other hand I want it to last because I so much like reading it.” I finished it over Christmas, and I have to say it did manage to keep up the suspense until the end. It is a story told from more than one perspective, and going back and forth in time, so sometimes a little hard to keep in memory or be sure who in the story really knows what. (Or, indeed, how much I as reader can trust what I know!) I would call it a modern Gothic tale, and from three real classics mentioned in it I would say it also picks a lot of inspiration from those three: Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Mysteries of Udulpho.

Listen in this YouTube video to the author’s own introduction:

 

http://youtu.be/XGHOhbtykzs

Oh, and I should perhaps add that the last three (books and authors) were unknown to me before I picked them up.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Narrow Escape

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I just had a narrow escape from getting stuck in the lift/elevator in my building.

I do my washing in a common laundry room in the basement, which I had booked for this afternoon. So at 12 I went down in the lift as usual. No problems in the laundry room; I just put my washing into the machine and started it. When I got out into the corridor, the lift was still down in the basement. The door opened to let me in. I entered, the door closed behind me, and I pressed the button for my floor. Then, quite unexpectedly, ALL the lamps started to blink, and the lift did not move. Help!

Luckily before I did anything else, it struck me to try the button that opens/holds the door – and that one still did its job. So I got out of the lift. After letting me out, it closed again, and from the outside I now wasn’t able to open it again. The lift was confused and did not know whether it was “here” or coming or going. (Three different lamps blinking.)

I, however, was free to walk the stairs up to my flat ;) – which luckily is no farther up than on the 2nd floor. Even if I also always bring my mobile phone with me when I go down into the basement (and had remembered it today as well), I have to say it was a relief to be able to make the call (to the service company) from the comfort of my own flat rather than from inside the lift…

So my only complaint is that now I have to carry my laundry up and down the stairs today. But just now I’m so grateful not to be stuck in the lift that I don’t really mind that minor inconvenience. (My problem is carrying things rather than the stairs as such; plus a rather heavy door to the basement. But for today I’ll manage just fine.)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

ABC Wednesday: X

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Didn’t feel like diving into the dictionary today so I’m taking the visual perspective with the letter X. This is an old cellar door in our open air museum park; photos from back in the summer.

For ABC Wednesday

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Update

When I woke up this morning, I found that the rainstorm from last night had blown over. (Or at least taken a break.) From how things were at midnight when I went to bed, my mind was set on staying in all day today. But instead I ended up going into town to another church service today (same church as on Christmas Eve). Choral singing, organ music, traditional hymns/carols.

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The 2nd day of Christmas (Boxing Day in England) is still marked as holiday in our calendar. Once upon a time that meant another day of ‘rest’ and no commerce. Nowadays it means Early Start of the Great Big Sale with 50% off on whatever the shops didn’t manage to sell before Christmas. (We know that, and still we continue to buy the presents beforehand; and then we go and get them exchanged after! Ah, the power of tradition!)

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I’m not out to pass judgment; just making note of facts!

On the morning of Christmas Eve, I had expected most of the shops in town to be open – but all except one were closed.

Today, I had expected some to open at 12 (as on a Sunday) – but they seemed all to have opened at 10 (as on a weekday)!

I guess now I have the traditions updated!

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The storm/hurricane ‘Dagmar’ did cause a lot of severe damage up North last night. They say the storm was among the ten strongest of its kind in Sweden in the past 30 years. 100.000 households were reported to still be without electricity this afternoon (at some point the figure was about 200.000). Lots of people won’t be turning up at work tomorrow because they’re stuck waiting for trains, or for roads to be cleared from fallen trees. Buildings have been destroyed by fallen trees too but so far no deaths have been reported.

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A new storm is approaching tonight which might be nearly as bad. New warnings have been issued for very strong gusts of wind. Again the very worst of it will probably hit the northern parts of the country.

As for my internet connection, I have not noted any more breakdowns today. I’m not sure what the problem was yesterday. The Wi-Fi signal was also weak then, but strong now. Sometimes technology seems to be very much like us humans. It has its bad days, and its good days, and does not always choose to explain itself! 

 

Christmas Macro Monday

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My mum knitted these, years ago. ‘Daddy Santa’ is ~ 17 cm high.
For Macro Monday

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Storm

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We’re having one of those just now. By the sound of it bad enough outside my windows; and they say even worse up in the North of Sweden. Winds of almost hurricane strength are expected. Might be snow as well up there. Trains have been cancelled and various traffic warnings issued etc. Down here it’s rain.

I’m safe enough at home and don’t have to go anywhere tomorrow. The only thing is my internet connection seems to have gone into “off and on” mode again as well… Thought I’d better tell you in case it decides to go more decidedly “off”.

No White Christmas

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The thin layer of snow that fell over our town last Sunday was all gone before Christmas. Someone probably really wanted a white Christmas, no matter what, and had put this giant snowman to keep watch over the city from high up on a balcony yesterday.

Personally, I have to confess I did not mind the combination of blue sky and ice-free streets on Christmas Eve, allowing me to go out for a walkabout without fear of slipping and falling ;)

Also a quiet Christmas for the snow-plough-drivers:

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Linking to Straight Out of the Camera Sunday

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Let’s Go To Bethlehem

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This Christmas I did something I’ve never done before:
I attended a daytime church service on Christmas Eve.

As I grew up in a family that did not go to church, and I always spent Christmas with family (until now), going to church at Christmas never really became part of my own tradition either, even when I started going to church on other occasions. 

Traditionally in Sweden, the main church service at Christmas used to be very early on Christmas Day (like 7 a.m.).  Nowadays, many churches have changed to having a Midnight service late on Christmas Eve instead. But some of the bigger churches offer several different types of Christmas services.

This Christmas I’m free to do as I like, but since I’m really neither early morning bird nor night owl by nature, I was glad to find a church service at 11 a.m. on Christmas Eve, in the old church in the town centre, which I have blogged about a few times before.

This service focused on the crib scene, starting with an empty stable and then as the story was told, the children were helping to put the figures in their right places. It was really a lovely service for all ages – and the real babies/ toddlers sometimes stealing the attention just added to the charm. (So cute…)

I was sitting some distance from the front and had my camera on silent and no flash so as not to disturb, so the photos aren’t the best but they will still give you an idea I think. (The close-up of the crib was taken after the service.)

Anyway I’m really glad I went; for one thing because this was something that made my Christmas this year different by choice rather than just passive adjustment to change of circumstances.

* I wish all of you a Merry Christmas! *

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Booking Through Thursday: Gifts

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Any books you’re hoping to get for the holidays this year? How about giving? Are you giving any good ones?

As usual the questions come from Deb at Booking Through Thursday.

Judging by the size of the parcels I’ve received by mail, no books. And I did not buy any to give away either this Christmas. But I did buy some for myself! One I even wrapped to put under my tree and have actually managed to forget the title even if I do still remember the author (a Swedish pastor/author, to my knowledge not translated into English).

I also bought the complete works of Tomas Tranströmer, the Swedish poet who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 2011. That book I did not wrap, but I haven’t had much time to look in it yet, except for the poem quoted here (recent blog post).

Over the past week or two I’ve been reading, and am still reading, The Distant Hours by Kate Morton, a novel which I’m thoroughly enjoying. 3/4 into it I’m still feeling that on the one hand I want to just keep reading to find out about the mysteries involved; on the other hand I want it to last because I so much like reading it. Which makes it just about perfect just now. (Because I have not had all that much time for reading. But whenever I’ve had the time, I’ve known I have a good book to return to!)

Next, I might be picking up either the one waiting under the tree, or Paolo Coelho’s The Pilgrimage, or a Swedish novel about a 100-year-old who climbed out of the window and disappeared (that’s the title! – I don’t think the book has been translated).

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“Christmas Corner” in my living room

 

 

 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Footprints

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My favourite TV program this month has been a daily 20 minutes following a Danish TV anchor man (Mikael Bertelsen) walking the pilgrimage route El Camino de Santiago in Spain – “The Way of St James”. The documentary series is divided into 24 episodes and is being broadcasted in Sweden during Advent with the last episode on Christmas Eve. 

I wasn’t sure if it was also originally meant as an Advent calendar but I just checked the Danish website and it appears they did broadcast it as such last year and they still have the 24 episodes online displayed like an Advent calendar. (I’m afraid if you don’t speak Danish though, you won’t be able to understand much of what is being said.)

Anyway… I have loved following this series and I have only missed a few episodes along the way. What drew my attention to it in the first place was that a friend walked this route (or part of it) earlier this autumn, so I wanted to see what it was like.

I know I wouldn’t have the physical stamina to do this myself, but somewhere within I like the “idea”. If nothing else, as a metaphor for Life. Being on a route, meeting people along the way, learning from each other, sometimes meditating over the purpose of it all, sometimes just concerned with everyday things like blisters and tiredness and finding a place to sleep.

The Way of St. James has existed for over a thousand years. It was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during medieval times, together with Rome and Jerusalem.

It is called the Way of St James because legend holds that the remains of the apostle by that name were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain where he was buried on the site of what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela.

The route was originally a Roman trade route, nicknamed the Milky Way by travellers, as it followed the Milky Way to the Atlantic Ocean.

Still today tens of thousands of travellers set out each year from various starting points across Europe – and for various reasons - to walk El Camino. Whether Christians or not, many consider the experience a spiritual adventure to remove themselves from the bustle of modern life.

(From the Wikipedia article)

Even though I have not yet watched the final three episodes, I’d like to say “bravo” to Danish Television for the production of this unique series, and also to Swedish Television for broadcasting it this December. It’s been such a contrast to the usual time-of-the-year focus on Christmas preparations mostly to do with food and drink and decorations and shopping and so on.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

W for Winter Solstice / ABC Wednesday + Watery Wednesday

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Since Sunday we’ve got a little dust of white. Still remains to be seen whether it will stay for Christmas or not. Probably not. But for now, it does make my world look a bit more wintry.

This year, the winter solstice falls on Thursday, 22 December.

Did you know the date varies? No wonder I can never remember whether it is the 21st or 22nd or 23rd… It changes!

The official time for sunset vs. sunset on that day, this year, in my town (in south-west Sweden), is 8:51 AM vs. 3:23 PM. The photo above is from 19 December around 10:20 AM.

In the far north of Sweden, like Kiruna, the sun literally does not rise above the horizon at all around Midwinter. I have to say I’m glad that down here, we at least have the chance of a glimpse of it now and then.

For ABC Wednesday and Watery Wednesday

Ruby Tuesday: The Dish World

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Hilarious if you are familiar with Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.
(If not, then it’s probably just odd…)

For Ruby Tuesday at Work of the Poet.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Macro Monday: Leftovers

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▲ Recent find in the park▲
  ▼Back in the summer – I think they looked like this ▼

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It’s Macro Monday at Lisa’s Chaos

Sunday, December 18, 2011

December Daisy

Nature is not quite in balance this December. We’ve had an unusually mild autumn and wet early winter. From photography point of view, nature has been very dull lately. The only place where it has sometimes been worth while to bring the camera has been the town centre, with the Christmas market going on.

Yesterday was another grey day, but not raining, and I took the opportunity for a walk along the river into town. I was rewarded by this unusual sight: A wild daisy in bloom in mid December!

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Shadow Shot Sunday

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Last week, Tracy of the blog Hey Harriet announced that due to time constraints, she had to quit hosting the meme Shadow Shot Sunday, which she has been doing since before I even entered the Blog World at all. I was glad to find this week that a team of other bloggers have already taken over and started Shadow Shot Sunday 2.

I usually take part in SSS from my  DawnTreader’s Picture Book blog; but because of my Advent Calendar going on there now until Christmas (and already pre-scheduled), I’m putting this week’s shadow post here instead.

Truly, this December has been so dark and grey here that ‘proper’ shadows have been hard to find - unless you take the view that all darkness is shadow! But for this week I went back into my archives... A shadow cast on the wall by the sun shining in through my windows last January.

Wishing Good Luck and Much Fun to the new SSS-team!

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Weekend Reflections: Mirror, Mirror on the Street

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For Weekend Reflections
Guess who went out Christmas shopping today?

This year’s ice sculpture – created only one week ago – got a very short life. Good thing I was able to take a picture of it last Sunday (and also of the artist at work on Saturday). Today’s morning paper reported it melted and collapsed already!

The artist takes it with a shrug though. An ice sculpture is not meant to last forever and it’s part of the excitement that you never know how long it will keep or what the weather will do to it.

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Today, in the place where the sculpture stood last week, they had put up a lot of things for an auction.

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I did not stay for the auction but I did have a look around.

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Traditional Yule goat made by straw.
My parents had one like that but with shorter legs.

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Maybe I should have stayed. Not to buy, but to see what people might be willing to pay for this kind of stuff. Considering that I/we (my brother and I) have a whole house full various articles of similar kind. What I really don’t need though is to get carried away by the general generous Christmas spirit and start bidding on someone else’s old cookie tins… ;)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Still Here

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Don’t worry, I’m still “on”. Just had a busy sort of day with my home getting invaded by angels and gnomes and whatnot. Now just looking at this one makes me sleepy… Good night! (11.30 PM)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Back ON !!!

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Another extremely wet day today. There was a short break from the worst downpour in the afternoon though and I managed to take a quick walk to the nearest convenience store to post my Christmas cards and buy some fruit and vegetables.

The good news is that my internet connection is back ON without any more breakdowns since 3 PM yesterday.

Some people were wondering how I managed to blog at all while the frequent breakdowns were going on. The answer is Windows Live Writer. Since I prepare my posts off line, even if the connection happens to go down just as I try to publish, I don’t lose the post. So was able to try again whenever the connection was back on. Commenting directly online was a bigger problem!

As for what caused it, I don’t know. Only that it was nothing to do with my appliances, nor was the fault within my apartment. (I have cable internet).

Btw – having my Android phone as “emergency exit” now makes me feel less panicky when things like this happen. If the cable or computer fails me I can at least still check my email and let people know, using the 3G. ;)

Booking Through Thursday: Character or Plot?

“What’s more important to you? Real, three-dimensional, fleshed-out fascinating characters? Or an amazing, page-turning plot?  (Yes, I know, they are both important. But if you had to pick one as being more important than the other?)”

As usual the question comes from Deb at Booking Through Thursday.

[Sigh] I am never any good with “either/or” kind of questions!

I think that an intriguing plot is often important to draw the reader into a book. But at the end of the day, it is usually characters that leave the lasting impression.

I’d also say that in the best stories, the plot serves to gradually form and/or reform the reader’s image of the main characters. Sometimes we are deceived and undeceived about the true nature of at least one of them. Sometimes we get to follow them for a long time and see the major events that form them. Sometimes we are introduced to them at a later point in their life and get to know more in flashbacks.

I’m trying to think of books from which I retain an idea of the “plot” but not the characters… Certain classic adventure stories come to mind, like those by Jules Verne. A more contemporary example would be Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. (However, I wasn’t even that impressed with the plot!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

OFF and ON and OFF and ON and OFF and…

Looking back through my blog posts the last week, it seems it was during the Storm on Friday that it began. Frequent mini-breakdowns in my internet connection. By frequent I mean like every 10-15-20 minutes or so. However, each time I restarted the modem, and the browser, it came on back again – for a while.

I blamed the instability on the weather situation and didn’t bother to call Support. After all I wasn’t totally shut off.

The problems continued much the same way over the weekend. And Monday. And Tuesday. Yesterday I was really on my way to call Support but the thing is, I had similar problems once before (last winter or spring) and went through a lot of trouble with changing cables and trying another modem on loan (so had to go into town to get it, and then again to return it), and all for nothing since in the end the problem turned out to be at their end anyway. And I’ve just not been feeling very keen on going through that whole process again. (“Have you tried turning it off and on again?” – “YES!!!”) (That question is the catchphrase for the British sitcom The IT Crowd.)

Meanwhile, I’ve taken to a new habit: Turning everything OFF at night before I go to bed. Somehow I feel more in control that way, knowing that it’s I who have shut off the world rather than the other way round.

So my new Advent Calendar lately is to start every morning by turning ON the whole system (modem, router, laptop, phone). With that system, I usually get about 20 minutes of hope before the communication goes down again.

This morning, however, the connection went down just after eight in the morning and was still gone twenty minutes later. Then I finally called Support; and they had no contact with my modem either. So he said he’d contact the technicians to check things out. Whatever that means.

Then around nine I noticed that all the right lamps on the modem were ON again. Yay – maybe they had fixed it?

Just about then there was a BIG BANG outside. Thunder again! So I found it best to leave the computer unplugged for a while. I had other things to do anyway.

Checked the Android phone wifi connection from time to time. Seemed to stay in touch… For a whole hour. I was just beginning to think it was fixed, when it went down again.

I was able to restart though. Now I’m keeping notes! 10.00 down, restart ok. 10.25 down, restart ok. 10.45 down, restart ok. 11.10 down, restart ok. Just now the clock on the wall says 11.35… Oh, surprise, it’s actually still on…

However, in ten minutes or so I’m going down myself – to the basement, to do laundry… Dear internet, I hope you’ll let me post this before I go. Then you can take a break for a couple of hours if you like!

Watery Wednesday: The Fence Is Not Much Help…

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The fence along the river is not much help just now, except to show that the water level is indeed higher than normal.

Linking to Watery Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

‘V’ for Vision of Light – St Lucy’s Day

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Like a vision of light, St Lucy – Lucia – appears on our doorstep in the early morning of 13th December; once upon a time believed to be the darkest night of the year. Lucia represents the victory of light over darkness.

Wearing a white gown with a red sash and a crown of candles on her head, she walks at the head of a procession of women, each holding a candle. The candles symbolize the fire that refused to take St. Lucia's life when she was sentenced to be burned. The women sing a Lucia song while entering the room, to the melody of the traditional Neapolitan song Santa Lucia; --- the various Scandinavian lyrics are fashioned for the occasion, describing the light with which Lucia overcomes the darkness. Each Scandinavian country has lyrics in their native tongues. After finishing this song, the procession sings Christmas carols or more songs about Lucia.

Our modern day visits from St Lucia have their roots in various traditions of the past. The veneration of  St Lucia here in Scandinavia may have been introduced as a counterweight to the superstitious fear of a vicious “Lussi” creature supposed to haunt this night of the year in old times.

It was particularly dangerous to be out during Lussi Night. Children who had done mischief had to take special care, since Lussi could come down through the chimney and take them away --- The tradition to stay awake through the night to guard oneself and the household against evil, has found a modern form through throwing parties until daybreak.

Read more in Wikipedia: St Lucy’s Day

The modern tradition with public Lucia elections and processions in the cities started in Stockholm in 1927 and spread from there. Today most cities in Sweden appoint their own Lucia. Voting is often part of the election process. Lucia and her maidens will visit shopping malls, old people's homes and churches etc during December; often also collecting money for charity.

The pictures in this post are from Swedish television this morning (photographed by me from the TV screen).

ABC Wednesday

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ruby Tuesday: Santa’s Busy Day

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The magic table where you can write your wish-list

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Hello! Santa waved at me!

Linking to Ruby Tuesday

Mosaic Monday: Baking

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13 December we celebrate St Lucia/St Lucy’s day in Sweden.
(The link will take you to a blog post of mine from last year.)

One of my staying-in-days last week (with the storm going on outside), I got it into my head to try something I haven’t done for years: bake my own saffron buns, which are traditional here for Advent and especially Lucia/St Lucy’s day (13 December). They are made from sweet yeast dough, usually with saffron and raisins, and the most common shape (at least around here) is the reversed S-shape like above.

Over the last decade, because of my neck/arm problems, I’ve been avoiding recipes that involve manual kneading, and lifting of big heavy hot baking sheets from the oven; keeping to ‘simple’ cakes, lighter ovenware, and bread made in the bread-maker. So I only made a half a batch of dough now, which was probably a good decision. (My right arm confirmed it afterwards…) My kitchen in this flat is also rather small, so baking takes some planning from that point of view as well. But it was fun.

Back in “the good old days” I often took a day off from work this time of year and spent the whole day baking for Christmas. Used to bake my own traditional gingerbread biscuits/cookies as well. (Now I sometimes do a simpler kind with the same spices, but no use of rolling-pin and cutting into different shapes involved.)

Linking to Mosaic Monday

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Finished Ice Sculpture

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Ice sculpture by Ragnhild Brodow Sandelius (Borås 2011)

Inscription: “stjärnbilderna stampa i sina spiltor”
= “t
he star constellations stamping in their stalls”
Words from the poem Storm* by Tomas Tranströmer,
Swedish poet awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 2011

I my previous post Straight Out of the Ice  you can see the artist
working on the ice sculpture. Luckily I was able to go back today to take a photo of the finished work as well. (How long it will remain standing depends on the weather, and the weather just now is rather unreliable!)

This ice sculpture is a tribute to Sweden’s probably most popular living poet, Tomas Tranströmer, who received the Nobel prize in literature yesterday.

* I found a translation of the poem at BookBrowse:

Storm

The man on a walk suddenly meets the old
giant oak like an elk turned to stone with
its enormous antlers against the dark green castle wall
of the fall ocean.

Storm from the north. It's nearly time for the
rowanberries to ripen. Awake in the night he
hears the constellations far above the oak
stamping in their stalls.

~ Tomas Tranströmer; translation Robert Bly ~

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Straight Out Of the Ice

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An ice sculpture in the town square has become tradition since a few years back. This year the artist Ragnhild Brodow Sandelius had to work in rain and hard winds – not the best of conditions for this kind of job! As you can see she is working inside the block of ice this time. What she is doing is a kind of lantern, with an inscription of a few lines from a poem by Tomas Tranströmer – this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize in literature. The annual Prize Award Ceremony takes place today. 10 December is the anniversary of Nobel's death. 

After thunder and snow and rain and storm the last few days, it was still raining this morning, but at least the wind had calmed down, and the snow and ice had thawed away from the streets (and pretty much from everywhere else as well). Next week we may be back to snow and ice and slippery roads again, so I decided today was probably as good a day as any to take the bus into town, post my overseas Christmas cards and letters, and shop some food.

Yesterday the outdoors Christmas market was cancelled because of the fierce storm. Today there were a few market stalls up, but the commerce still seemed a bit… well… washed out…

The ice sculpture was really the only thing worth while getting out a camera for. I took these photos with my mobile phone btw.

My internet connection is still really wobbly, it keeps breaking down every ten or fifteen minutes or so. Each time it goes down, I have to go restart the modem (which is in the living room), and then the browser. Seems just to be “micro” breaks, not lasting very long… But neither does the connection!!! Like someone got into a bit too much Christmas spirit and put the broadband on “blinking” as Christmas effect. I’m not a fan of blinking lights – and even less with my internet connection!!!

Writing this in Windows Live Writer (so thankful for that!) and hoping to be able to post it… sooner or later… and link to

Straight Out Of the Camera Sunday.
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